All of SEA has significant potential given the growth in energy demand in these markets as a result of their growing economies and populations. In addition, the conditions in South East Asia are ideal for solar: from good irradiation levels, reasonable availability of land, low cost of labour and to a certain extent attractive financial support from government incentives.
Among these SEA markets, Vietnam has significant immediate potential. They not only have a solar FIT system in place but their reliance on importing coal to cover 50% of their electricity needs has also brought about a high interest for alternative energy sources.
Although Thailand could be considered slightly saturated, it still has fairly significant potential in rooftop PV and utility PV with the government’s (albeit more limited) Agro-solar program. Countries like Indonesia that rely heavily on diesel for primary power generation in remote regions offer very interesting potential for solar hybrid projects.
Myanmar will certainly come into the focus in the long-term as well – due to the size of their population and low electrification rate which suggest that Myanmar has amazing potential.
In addition, the Philippines would in theory be best positioned for the highest short term potential given its solar track record and the response the industry has shown during the 2 FIT rounds. With the huge volumes of solar deployed in the country, the country can take advantage of economies of scale which makes solar even more competitive. But discontinuing the FIT programme without a transparent and working bilateral PPA market has left the solar progress hanging for most parts.
The Philippines has the highest end-user electricity price in all of SEA (as much as US$ .18/kwh), which implies that solar PV is already at socket parity/grid parity in the Philippines and is competitive with a number of traditional power generation technologies.
Meanwhile, a number of the newly emerging SEA countries have very limited power infrastructure in place. But they are determined to build capacities in the short to medium term and they are seriously considering using RE technologies.